90 Billion Dollars . . .

is how much Google’s stock value has dropped in the last week or so after the double blow of their Gemini A.I.’s equivalency of Elon Musk and Hitler, and then their black Nazis, black Vikings, black Popes, and black plantation owners.

Makes you wonder if the woman who set up the Bud Light fiasco is now working at Google.

How low can it go?

After talking about the upcoming eclipse in last night’s blog, I remembered that I needed to order a sun filter for my camera. And after checking some reviews, I ordered this one from Celestron.

Celestron – 3-Pc EclipSmart Safe Solar Observing & Imaging Kit

A lot of reviews for some of the others complain about distortion, so I figured that one from Celestron, the maker of multi-thousand dollar telescopes, should have a good camera filter, and it comes with another set of glasses as a bonus.

Tomorrow we’re getting together for with our long-time friend Tricia to check out the Rustika Cafe and Bakery over in League City. From checking out the menu online, it looks to be a lot like our fav Sunflower Cafe down in Galveston.

Looking forward to both.

Thought For The Day:

Soy Milk

Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

February 28, 2010

Gila Bend…where?

Today was our last morning with our friends, Al and Adrienne, before we left Tucson for 3 days in Gila Bend, AZ.

And, of course, it started pouring down rain last night and it was still coming down this morning. But since I had a heads-up from the Weather Channel, I went ahead and did as much as I could last night, including hitching up the truck.

But I still got soaking wet finishing up unhooking the utilities and the satellite system.

But first, we had a final breakfast with our friends Al and Adrienne at the resort restaurant. Since we were already hitched up, they were nice enough to pick us up at our rig.

As I mentioned earlier, we first met Al and Adrienne up in Fairbanks, AK in 2008 and became fast friends. Adrienne asked this morning why I thought we all became such good friends. I said it was because we were all weird.

She seemed surprised and asked how we were weird. I said we climb in a big box on wheels and travel from Alaska to Newfoundland and back. We don’t always know where we will be tomorrow night, and we like it that way.

Apparently, some people just can’t handle this.

The other important thing is that your spouse has to be your best friend. Things are just too close to have it otherwise.

And I’m very lucky in this respect. Jan has been my best friend for almost 43 years now, and I would still rather be with her than to do anything else.

Anyway, we said our goodbyes to Al and Adrienne and got underway a few minutes before 11 am. We had a great time visiting them and they went out of their way to show us the sights of Tucson, along with some great eating.

We’re going to try to see them later this summer when they will be up in Washington state.

We pulled into Holt’s Shell RV Park in Gila Bend, AZ about 1:15 pm, and just in time too. We got their last site. Lucky us. We last stayed here two years ago on our roundabout way to Fairbanks, AK, and we really like this park. And it’s only $10 per night using Passport America. What a deal!

We’ll be here until Wednesday so I can finish up some projects on the rig that were hampered by the cold and rain we had for the last three weeks in Houston.

After that, we’ll head on over to Yuma for a rally.

Later this afternoon we over to Sofia’s Mexican Restaurant for what Jan describes as the best Shrimp Burrito she’s ever eaten. We ate here two years ago and Jan’s been talking about them ever since.

February 28, 2011

Pizza and da Boyz . . .

Today started off great!

I didn’t get awakened by a blown circuit breaker.

Actually, it was a pretty quiet morning with coffee and some computer work.

Later in the morning, I used the cartridge removal tool I got yesterday to remove my shower faucet cartridge. Or at least I tried to.

It wouldn’t quite work, so I had to improvise something to help get it out, but I finally got it loose.

Then around noon, I rode over to Home Depot to see if I could find a replacement cartridge. I did find one that looked like it would work, but it had been opened and taped back together. It was the only one they had, so I didn’t have much choice.

And, of course, when I got home, inside the new cartridge box was the proper removal tool, which I wouldn’t have had until I got the old cartridge out and knew which one to buy.

Of course.

About 2:30 Jan and I drove back over to the Fortuna area, this time to visit some stores to solicit gift certificates as door prizes for the rally. We had pretty good luck, picking up 4, and being told to come back tomorrow to pick up prizes from 3 other places.

Getting back about 4:30 we soon were on our way back out to eat supper at Da Boyz Italian Cuisine on Main St. in downtown Yuma, along with Tom and Barb Westerfield.

We ate here last year, and it was just as good this time. This is really great Italian. We all had a little bit of everything, pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, and ravioli, and no one was disappointed.

We got back home about 7:30 and I started working on the shower faucet. It took a lot of fooling with it, mainly due to the fact that the instructions were in English, French, and Spanish, but they didn’t make sense in any of those.

Finally, I stopped reading the instructions, figured it out on my own, and got it working. No more drip!

Tomorrow Jan and I will hit some more places for door prizes, and then about 3:30 we’ll head back over to Gila Bend, 116 miles away, to be initiated into the Elks Lodge there.

Another busy day.

February 28, 2013

The Deer Whisperer . . .

My main chore from my To-Do list today was to flush out our rig’s water heater. Normally I do this before we leave Houston for the year, but just ran out of time this year.

The first step was to turn off the water heater. In this case, the electric switch. Next, I turned on the hot water in the lavatory and let it run until the water was cold.

Leaving the water running, I went outside and turned off the water to the rig, and then removed the drain plug on the water heater, as shown at the bottom of this photo.

Water Heater 1a

I left the faucet open inside the rig to release the vacuum and make it easier to drain the heater. After letting most of the water drain out, I hooked up my cleaning wand to a hose, turned the water on, and inserted it into the drain hole.

Water Heater Wand

Using the wand I flushed out the inside of the heater, noting how much trash and gunk comes out. And in this case, I didn’t see a lot of stuff, which made my job a little easier.

If I had found a lot coming out, I would have put the drain plug back in, removed the T&P valve located above the drain, poured in about a pint of vinegar, filled the water heater with water, and then turned the power back on and let it set for a couple of hours.

This would dissolve and remove a lot of the crud. At this point, I would start over with my flushing until the water draining out was clear.

In this case, I just put the drain plug back in, turned the water back on to the rig, and then waited until water was running freely. At this point, I turned the heater back on, and I was done.

If you do this for yourself, be very careful to not accidentally turn the power on to the heater without any water in it. It will burn out the heating elements in just a few seconds.

Later, about 2 pm, Jan and I headed out for the afternoon to run some errands over in Boerne, about 25 miles away. Our first stop was Home Depot to pick up a couple of things for my rig projects, and then a few blocks later, Radio Shack for some new test leads and connectors.

Then it was on to Wal-Mart, and then HEB for a couple of things that Wal-Mart did have.

Coming back to our park, we were passing a ranch and looked over to see a bull elk,

Bump Gate Elk 1

and a cow.

Bump Gate Elk 2

Never can tell what you’ll see on a Texas back road.

Coming back into Lakehills, we stopped at Cowan’s on the Creek, a local restaurant that really good online reviews. Based on them, we were looking forward to a really good steak. Unfortunately, the reviews didn’t seem to know about the empty lake and the lack of business, and the fact that the place had shut down their full kitchen two weeks ago. So we had our choice of burgers, chicken fried steak, or the lunch special, Meatloaf, Cheesy Potatoes, and Green Beans.

Jan and I both agreed it was really good, but it wasn’t the steak we were looking forward to. We did have a nice talk with the owner about RV’ing, and also about the missing lake. She said the real reason the lake was dry was that due to the drought, San Antonio was pumping so much water from the river that supplies the lake at the dam, that none was left to spill over the dam and keep the lake filled.

Getting back to the rig about 6:30 pm, Jan got out to feed the deer, and was soon surrounded.

Deer Whisperer 1

Deer Whisperer 2

At one point I counted almost 50 of them crowding around her. They were so tame you could just hold out your empty hand and they would come up and nuzzle it.

Deer Whisperer 3

Nice Rack!

Medina Deer

February 28, 2014

Old Friends and New . . .

Had something strange happen with DirecTV this morning. When Jan got up she found we had no TV stations available. The message on the screen seemed to be saying that there was a problem with the receiver. So I did a full reset on it with no luck.

So the next thing I did before calling them, was to log into my account. And I quickly found the problem. My account was past due. But what was strange about this is that I’m set up for auto-pay for my DirecTV account, one of the few that I do this on. So why didn’t they bill me? Well, apparently because they said my credit card was no good. And the reason it was no good was that it was an old, canceled number.

I have had 3 VISA debit cards since November. While we were gate guarding in early November, I got an email from Chase saying they had detected suspicious activity on my card and were sending me a new one. And as soon as I received the new card I went to the DirecTV site and updated my card info. And using this new card number, my December payment went through just fine.

Then, shopping at Target for the first time in several years, we got caught up in the Target data breach, and so Chase sent me another new card. Which I promptly updated on the DirecTV site once again. And using this new, new card number, my January payment went through just fine.

So what happened to my February payment? Well, it looks like it was a server hard drive crash, and an out-of-date backup. Because when I looked at my credit card info stored on the site, the number showing up was my old, old number that hadn’t been used since November. And two payments have gone through since then with no problems on the new numbers.

The only thing that makes sense is that the hard drive containing my info (and a lot of other people’s of course) crashed and burned, and they restored a backup to the replacement drive. And either, someone grabbed up an older backup by accident, or the most recent ones were bad, and they used the first good one they found.

I’ve seen both of these happen over the years, so it’s nothing new. But hopefully it’s fixed for now. I updated my card info and manually made the payment, and about 5 seconds later, we had TV again. I may check it again next month and be sure it’s OK.

About 1 pm, new friend Debi Hurlburt and old friend Jan Evans walked down to our rig and invited us to Debi’s for spaghetti in an hour or so. And of course, we said YES.

Here we are last night with new friends Ed and Debi Hurlburt at Sealand Seafood.

Debi-Ed-Jan-Greg at Sealand

And here we are with old friends, Dave and Jan Evans at Stomp’s Burger Joint in Kemah back in December of 2011.

Jan and Dave Evans

It seems like no matter where we go, we make new friends, and run into old ones. Just one of the many benefits of the RV life.

February 28, 2015

Wheels and Waffles . . .

Unfortunately, I was up at about 8 this morning to finish a few projects outside the rig to get us ready to hit the road tomorrow morning. Then about 9:30 Jan and I drove up to the IHOP in Webster to meet Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper for breakfast.

And as is usual for an IHOP on the weekends, we had about a 30-minute wait for a table. I’m always amused by people who come in and, finding a 30-minute wait, leave and go elsewhere. Where are they going to go on a Saturday morning that doesn’t have a wait? Maybe a McDonald’s or something, but if they would settle for that, then they probably would have gone there first.

And by the time they leave IHOP, drive somewhere else, and are again told 30 minutes, they’ve already wasted 30 minutes.

After a great breakfast, I had Chicken and Waffles, and Jan had an Omelet, Jan and Miss Piper headed out for their Mani-Pedi afternoon, though Jan just does the Pedi part.

For me, I was off to take care of some truck work. First up was to have my spare tire swapped out with the right front tire, while also swapping the wheels. Rather than go to a big tire place and wait around, Chris told me about a place called Big Boy’s Tires.

After I told the Hispanic lady owner what I wanted, she started yelling in Spanish, and it was like that scene in Back To The Future at the 1955 gas station when 4 or 5 guys come running out to put in the gas, check the oil, wash the windshield, and check the tire pressure.

One guy started loosening the lug nuts on the front tire, while another one was jacking up the truck with a floor jack. At the same time, another guy was cranking down the spare underneath the rear of the truck.

Then two guys broke down the tires on two separate machines, swapped tires with each other, and put them back together. After that, while one guy put the new spare back under the truck, the other guy had the new front tire on the balancer. After about 5 minutes the tire was balanced and reinstalled, and the wheels were back on the ground.

It was like watching a NASCAR pit crew in action.

After all that excitement, I had a very sedate car wash and oil change. Being Saturday afternoon, I did have about a 30-minute wait on the oil change, but no problem.

By the time I got back to Chris’, Jan and Piper were done, so after saying our goodbyes until May in Illinois, Jan and I headed back toward the rig, with a stop at Rudy’s BBQ for takeout for meals on the road, and Wal-Mart for a few last minute things before we hit the road tomorrow to the Colorado River Thousand Trails, the first stop on our way to Tucson.

Back at the rig, I spent some time packing everything away outside. I went ahead and disconnected water and sewer, since it’s supposed to be raining tomorrow morning when we leave. So now all I’ll have to do then is bring in the Sat dish and disconnect shore power.

Wrapping up, Brandi, Lowell, and Landon left early this morning for their Colorado ski trip.

Landon on Plane

Brandi said Landon was really excited to get to fly. It looks like it.

February 28, 2016

Semi-Monthly or is it Bi-Monthly . . .

Today was another of our semi-monthly travels, from the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails all the way to the other side of Texas, well, the other side of Houston anyway, to the Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus, TX..

But first up this morning we did our usual pre-travel breakfast at the Conroe Cracker Barrel, but a little different this time, because we were joined by our soon-to-be-ex next door neighbors, Brett and Frankie O’Neal. They’re heading for Florida on Tuesday so we probably won’t run into them again for a while, but we’re looking forward to it when it does happen.

Getting back to the park about 9:45, we were hooked up and moving out by 10:30. One nice thing about the side-by-side sites in the ‘F’ section is that most of them are long enough to allow us to hitch the toad before we pull out, saving us time since we don’t have to stop again at the front of the park to hook up.

Our trip today was a lot less windy than last time, at least the first part of it. It seemed that the further west we got, the windy it got, especially the last 20 miles or so.

About 15 miles out from our Columbus exit, we stopped off at the Oasis Truck Stop for coffee and a potty break. Coming back out, I did my usual walk-around and discovered we had a problem. The front of the truck was covered in oil, as well as a lot was scattered over the back of the rig.

After looking things over through the oily mess, I couldn’t see anything obviously wrong, so I decided to proceed on to Colorado River, keeping a close eye on my gauges. I hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary on the trip, with all my gauges showing normal.

And it was the same on the last 20 miles too. My oil pressure was good, turbo pressure was good, water temp was fine, everything was fine. And the engine started right and sounded normal too.

So after I get the washer finished, I’ll dig out the pressure washer and clean things up a bit to make it a little easier to see what’s wrong. Of course, the first thing I’ll check is the breather tube, and then go from there.

I’ve seen this occasionally in the past when using the PacBrake exhaust brake a lot in mountainous areas, and you get some blow-by coming out, but nothing like this amount, and I wasn’t even using the PacBrake today at all.

We got into the Colorado River Thousand Trails a little after 1 pm and found ourselves greeted by our friends Jim and Perri Dean as we waited at the gate for the ranger to check us in. They were hoping to see Karma but she hadn’t come out of hiding yet, so maybe next time.

As it turns out, we ended up in the ‘A’ section, right across the street from where Karma lived before we adopted here, So it will be interesting to take her back to visit and see how she reacts. I’ve got a harness for her now so it should be pretty safe.

For dinner tonight Jan heated up our leftover fajitas from last night’s visit to El Bosque, still delicious.

I didn’t do anything on the washer today except roll it back and forth in the rig when we traveled. But I’ll be back on it tomorrow.

February 28, 2017

Still Two or Three More . . .

Once again we were out the door at 8:30 (this is getting old) and on our way to our doctor’s appointments down in Friendswood.

These were with our general practitioner for our lab work and prescription refills, so we were both out within two hours with a clean bill of health. I even lost a little weight, though how the hell that happened, I’ll never know. We won’t know all our test results for a few days, but we don’t expect any problems.

Then it was over to Webster to have what might be our last King Food meal for this time here. And as usual, we had our favorite Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce with jalapenos, and XXXXXXX Spicy.

King Food Chcken Garlic 3

Saving half our meal for later, I next dropped Jan off for her Bone Density test, while I made a quick trip to Home Depot for a couple of things.

Then it was back on the road heading up to Katy and Brandi and Lowell’s. Brandi was coming home a little early so she and Jan could go and get Pedi’s – sans Mani’s. While they were gone I headed out to a nearby Jiffy Lube to get an oil/filter change for the truck.

But even though there were cars in the bays, apparently they don’t actually open until tomorrow. When I asked about the cars,  I was told they were ‘practice’ cars. But when I offered my truck for ‘practice’, they didn’t take me up on it for some reason. And I wouldn’t have even charged them.

So I’ll have to try again while we’re in Conroe. I’m also going to try and get the truck’s headliner replaced there too. It’s gradually coming loose, and there’s only so much that Gorilla Tape can do.

When Jan and Brandi were done getting their toes tickled, Lowell, Landon, and I met them at the nearby La Finca Mexican Restaurant for dinner. And then it was back to the rig by 8:30. And then tomorrow we move.

We’re going back to Lake Conroe for a week before coming back here for two days and then heading for Tucson.

As I’ve said, one of these days I’m going to have to retire, buy a big RV, and get some rest.

And we’ve still got two or three more trips down to Clear Lake before we leave.

February 28, 2018

All Done . . . At least until August

Jan had her follow-up appointment with her urologist this morning, hoping to get her stent out and be done with all this. But her 9 am appointment started to go downhill pretty quickly. They didn’t even know she had an appointment.

Well, we had a print-out that said she had an appointment on 2/28/18 at 9 am. Then the nurse somewhat sheepishly admitted that the doctor sometimes forgets to actually ‘record’ the appointments he schedules.

But Jan finally got called in about 10:30 and we were out the door by 11 am. And unless something else comes up, she’s done until her six-month checkup at the end of August.


Done with all this, we decided to have brunch at the nearby The Egg & I Breakfast & Brunch place. Though it’s one of our favorites, the last time we ate here was almost exactly 3 years ago. Too long!

But rather than go with some of their fancier dishes, like Crab Cake Benedict and a Spinach Bacon Mushroom Omelet, we both went basic with their Two Egg Breakfast with Bacon. Jan’s with a Belgian Waffle, and mine with a fruit cup.

The Egg and I Breakfast

Both delicious, but I think our favorite is their really good Hazelnut coffee. And they leave the pot on the table. Even better.

Finishing up, it was back home for the rest of the afternoon, mostly just goofing off, but I did take care of a few things around the rig. I cleaned the filters on both AC’s, mostly because with this warm spell, we’re running the AC’s again.

I want my winter back.

After being offline for over 24 hours, our USPS Click N Ship software finally started working yesterday. Don’t know what happened but we hope it doesn’t happen again anytime soon, since it puts a real crimp in getting shipments out.

If nothing else comes up, I’ll probably drain and flush our water heater tomorrow. With everything going on I skipped it last year, so I want to get it done before we start traveling again in a few months.

I remember the first time I flushed it was after our first year on the road in 2008. I got so much gunk out of it that I was positive it had never been done in the eight years before we owned the rig. And I think our hot water capacity doubled after I was finished.

February 28, 2019

Up In Trinity . . .

We spent the day up in the Trinity TX area visiting with Janice and Dave Evans in their new house, along with Nancy and Roy Lackey, and Debi and Ed Hurlburt

Conroe RV Group at the Evans - Mine468

We had a great time and hope to all get together again soon.

While we were up there, I got a message on my phone telling me that my refrigerator had gone offline. At first, I thought maybe the park power was off, but all my remote stuff was OK. The fridge was just off.

So when we got back home about 8 pm, I started looking for the problem.

The 12 volts was still on to the fridge, just the AC was missing. At first, I thought maybe it was the Smart Plug outlet that controls the fridge, so I removed it from the power plug. Still nothing. So I checked the AC breaker box at the bottom of the bed.

Aha! The fridge breaker was popped, so I reset it. And now the fridge had power again.

Problem solved, right?  Nope.

About 10 minutes later I noticed I had lost AC again.  So I again reset the breaker. And then 5 minutes later when I checked, no power again.

So bad breaker, or bad refrigerator?

Going back outside I ran an extension cord from a bay power outlet to the frig, and again had power to it.

And an hour later the fridge was still on and the temp was coming down.

So now I’ve got a breaker to replace. But at least it’s cheaper than a refrigerator.

February 28, 2021

And It Started Off So Well . . .

After turning off the shore water, I started removing the old toilet about 10:45 this morning, and by 11:45, it was disconnected, unbolted, and setting off to the side in a large garbage bag.

Then using a screwdriver bit in my drill, I removed the 6 screws holding down the 4 bolt to 2 bolt adapter and lifted it off. And as I hoped I found the original floor flange still in usable condition.

Then I brought the new toilet in from outside and looked it over. And that’s when I discovered a problem. This toilet had no hookup for the external spray hose. And Jan wants the spray hose.

The spray hose connection comes off of the vacuum breaker that plugs in the back of the toilet. And the vacuum breaker on the new toilet had no connection for the hose like the old one did.

So simple, right? Just swap vacuum breakers. But easier said than done. The hose connected the vacuum breaker with the flush pedal water valve on the side of the toilet was heated and pushed onto the fitting and would not come off, so I had to cut it off. And once I did that the hose was now too short to reach.

By this time I decided to call an audible. It was obvious that I was going to have to go out for new hose. And since it was now after 2 pm, I decided that with the uncertain repair time, we would go out and have lunch at the Denny’s, pick up some new hose at the nearby Lowe’s, and then stash Jan in the Texas City Quality Inn for the night. One with a bathroom. So getting Jan all set up, I headed back to the rig to try and finish up. And it actually went pretty smoothly, all things considered.

I heated a mug of water in the microwave, and then used it to soften the new hose to fit over the connections, leaving me with this on the water valve.

New Toilet Water Vale

And this on the vacuum breaker.

New Toilet Vacuum Breaker

And now came the part that I figured I’d have problems with, but didn’t.

I was able to set the toilet right in place with the 4 bolts lined up perfectly. Then it was just a matter of connecting up the water supply, and then tightening down the 4 nuts that hold the toilet in place.

And though when I turned on the water pump, I had a small leak, a quick turn took care of it. Then I had to install the pedestal cover and pedal cover, and by 6 pm I was done.d

Then after tidying up, I headed back over to the hotel for the night.

Glad it’s done.

February 28, 2023


Or Not.

Lunch today was at the Jimmy Changas over in Pasadena where we were meeting up with long-time friend Tricia. Tricia is another one of our friends that started out as a client and ended up as a friend. We try to get together every couple of months and always have a great time.

Jan got the Pollo Marisco, two grilled chicken breasts covered is Shrimp cream sauce.

Jimmy Changas Pollo Marisco 20230228

I got my usual Mexican Vegetable Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Jimmy Changas Tortilla Soup 20230228

So full of stuff that your spoon just floats on top and doesn’t sink.


Jimmy Changas Tricia 20230228

A really great time.

But earlier I already had trouble waiting for me when I got up this morning. Jennifer, the office manager, called to say the icon for our POS (Point of Sale) software had disappeared from both the Desktop and the Taskbar. So I told her to try to start it up from the Start menu list.

But after trying that, she said that, though the folder was there, the POS software itself was missing. So I went in remotely to look for myself, and found it actually was gone. So I copied it back over from a backup and then ran it to be sure it worked.

However as soon as I did, I saw something flash on the screen, and the program disappeared again.


But when I repeated it, I saw what was happening. Malwarebytes had decided that our POS was Ransomware and had deleted it to ‘protect’ me.

So after I tried it again with the same result, I fixed it by just deleting Malwarebytes..

Problem solved!